Author(s): Katherine Melcher
Throughout history and around the world, community members have come together to build places, be it settlers constructing log cabins in nineteenth-century Canada, an artist group creating a waterfront gathering place along the Danube in Budapest, or residents helping revive small-town main streets in the United States. What all these projects have in common is that they involve local volunteers in the construction of public and community places; they are community-built. Although much attention has been given to specific community-built movements such as public murals and community gardens, little has been given to defining community-built as a whole. This volume provides a preliminary description of community-built practices with examples from the disciplines of urban design, historic preservation, and community art. Taken as a whole, these community-built projects illustrate how the process of local involvement in adapting, building, and preserving a built environment can strengthen communities and create places that are intimately tied to local needs, culture, and community.
The lessons learned from this volume can provide community planners, grassroots facilitators, and participants with an understanding of what can lead to successful community-built art, construction, preservation, and placemaking.
Katherine Melcher is an Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Georgia's College of Environment and Design, U.S. Her research focuses on the interaction between design and community development-in particular, participatory processes in the design of community spaces. Her design work has been featured in Landscape Architecture, Designer/Builder, 1000x Landscape Architecture, and Architecture for Change. Barry L. Stiefel is an Associate Professor in the Historic Preservation and Communty Planning program at the College of Charleston, U.S. He is interested in how the sum of how local preservation efforts affects regional, national, and multi-national policies within the field of cultural resource management and heritage conservation. Dr. Stiefel has published numerous books and articles. Kristin Faurest worked as an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Landscape Architecture, Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary, where she taught and researched in the areas of community-based planning, social justice in spatial planning, and the connections between culture and landscape. Last year she returned to her native U.S. to direct the Portland Japanese Garden's new International Institute for Japanese Garden Arts and Culture in Portland, Oregon.
* Introduction: Defining Community-Built by Barry L. Stiefel, Kristin Faurest, and Katherine Melcher Part I: Participation and Empowerment * Community-Built as a Professional Practice by Katherine Melcher * Kalaka: Four Stories about Community Building in a New Democracy by Kristin Faurest * Reflections on Community Engagement: Making Meaning of Experience by Terry L. Clements and C.L. Bohannon * Impacts of Participatory Mural Making on Youth Empowerment by Tiva Lasiter Part II: Culture and Identity * Community Eruvin: Architecture for Semi-Public/Private Neighborhood Space by Barry L. Stiefel * Community-Built and Preserved Material Culture: Square-log Cabins in the Village of Mont-Tremblant, Quebec by Mariana Esponda Cascajares * Constructing and Preserving History Through Community Art Projects by Anastasia L. Pratt * Yellow Star Houses: a Community Generated Living History Project in Budapest by Ildiko Reka Bathory-Nagy Part III: Local Control of Place * Building Informal Infrastructures: Architects in Support of Bottom-up Community Services and Social Solidarity in Budapest by Daniela Patti and Levente Polyak * The Main Street Approach to Community Design by Jeremy C. Wells * Building Streets and Building Community by Katherine Melcher * Conclusion: Valuing Community-Built by Kristin Faurest, Barry L. Stiefel, and Katherine Melcher List of Contributors